Cappella Romana, a vocal chamber ensemble acclaimed for its “purity and radiance” (Gramophone), embarks upon an extraordinary 1,000-year journey from Constantinople to California with their newest recording, Live in Greece, released by Allegro Classical on August 14.
The Ancient Byzantine chant is followed by musical encounters with Crusaders and Venetians, including Greek and Latin polyphony from Renaissance Crete. East meets West again at St. Sophia Cathedral in Los Angeles, where Frank Desby founded a tradition of Greek-American choral music. The tour comes full circle with the mystical ecstasy of Radiant Cloud, a sonic icon of the Transfiguration by Athenian composer Michael Adamis.
Recorded during the Cappella Romana’s 2011 tour to Greece, where they performed at the 6th Century Church of 100 Doors, and in the village church of Áspro Chorió on the island of Paros, the Live in Greece program will be a centerpiece of the ensemble’s upcoming seasons in Portland and Seattle.
The Los Angeles Times said the group’s performances are “like jeweled light flooding the space” and Cappella Romana is dedicated to combining passion with scholarship in its exploration of the musical traditions of the Christian East and West, with an emphasis on early and contemporary music. Each program reflects the musical, cultural and spiritual heritage of this ecumenical vision.
Founded in 1991, Cappella Romana has a special commitment to mastering the Slavic and Byzantine repertoires in their original languages. Leading scholars have supplied the group with their latest discoveries, while its music director and founder, Alexander Lingas, has prepared a number of the ensemble’s performing editions from original sources.
In the field of contemporary music, Cappella Romana has taken a leading role in bringing to West Coast audiences the works of such European composers as Michael Adamis, Ivan Moody, Arvo Pärt, and John Tavener, as well as promoting the work of North Americans such as Fr. Sergei Glagolev, Christos Hatzis, Peter Michaelides, and Tikey Zes.
In addition to performances across the United States, Cappella Romana has toured London, Northern Ireland and Belfast, Rome and Sicily. The ensemble’s numerous previous recordings include The Divine Liturgy in English in Byzantine Chant and The Fall of Constantinople, now also available from Allegro Classical.